Socialist Worker

New Labour wants your money

Issue No. 2109a

Gordon Brown’s Labour Party is bankrupt. The millionaires who secretly lent money to Labour in the run up to the 2005 election are asking for their cash back.

So Labour has returned to the unions for help.

The “Warwick Agreement” in 2004 saw Labour make more than 50 pledges in return for £10 million.

It was supposed to provide the basis of a pro-union Labour third term.

Most of the unions’ demands – such as basic rights for agency workers – are still ignored.

The Labour Party received £3.1 million in donations in the first quarter of 2008, with the majority coming from the unions – in particular Unison, Unite and the GMB.

Some business donors have taken flight now the peerages have dried up and the Tories look set to win. So Labour is looking again for even more union cash.

There is no reason for the unions to give any more money without getting a great deal in return.

Ending the public sector pay freeze would immediately improve the lives of millions of workers.

Every Labour affiliated union has a policy against the anti-union laws – they could demand their repeal.

Each has policy on the rights of “vulnerable workers” and could demand full rights for agency workers.

Unison, Unite and the GMB are all against foundation hospitals and the privatisation of public services.

They all support more funding for local authorities to build council houses.

Unison, the GMB and the T&G section of Unite all have policy for the removal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Any of these policies would improve the lives of millions of people.

But Labour’s commitment to the bosses’ agenda means they won’t do any of these things unless pushed.

And the union leaders’ commitment to the Labour leadership means they won’t make these demands unless they too are pushed.

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Article information

Tue 15 Jul 2008, 09:34 BST
Issue No. 2109a
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